06/01/2012 3:28PM

Hollywood: Top Japanese jockey Fukunaga to ride starting in July


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Yuichi Fukunaga, a top rider from Japan who won the Grade 1 American Oaks aboard Cesario at Betfair Hollywood Park in 2005, will ride in California for at least two months beginning in July, jockey’s agent Brian Beach said.

Beach said that the 35-year-old Fukunaga is in the process of finalizing work documents and hopes to begin riding at Hollywood Park around July 1. Fukunaga will ride through the Del Mar meeting, which runs from July 18 to Sept. 5.

Fukunaga is expected to travel to California in mid-June to meet trainers, Beach said. The jockey’s start date will be known after immigration papers are finalized.

Fukunaga has ridden since 1996, and has won approximately 1,400 races in Japan. He was the leading rider at Japan Racing Association tracks in 2011, with 133 wins. It was the first time that he had won the riding title.

Through May 27, Fukunaga led all riders at JRA tracks with 60 wins.

Fukunaga plans to ride in California at a time when Japanese racing does not hold any Grade 1 races in July and August.

Beach said that Fukunaga is expected to resume riding in Japan in September, but could return to the United States later this year.

Quiet Oasis might race back at meet

Quiet Oasis, the winner of the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap in April and second in the Grade 1 Gamely Handicap on May 26, could make one more start at the current spring-summer meeting.

Trainer Ben Cecil said an appearance in the $150,000 Royal Heroine Stakes over a mile on turf on July 7 is a possibility, depending on how quickly the filly recovers from a grueling race in the Gamely.

“She came out really good, but a little tired,” he said. “We could possibly run in the Royal Heroine. We’ll see how she is.”

Quiet Oasis is owned by Paul Reddam, who owns Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another.

Describing the half-length loss to Belle Royale in the Gamely, Cecil said, “It’s never fun finishing second.”

Belle Royale is expected to make her next start in the Beverly D Stakes at Arlington Park in August.

TOC to hold open forum

The Thoroughbred Owners of California is scheduled to conduct an open forum on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at Hollywood Park’s Sunset Room, adjacent to the Turf Club.

The meeting will be attended by TOC directors to discuss current events. One expected topic of discussion is the possible implementation of exchange betting at Del Mar this summer.

The TOC, as the state’s official representative for horsemen, must approve any purse contracts involving the launch of exchange betting, which is strongly supported by the Betfair-TVG network and Del Mar track officials. British-based Betfair pioneered exchange wagering over the last decade.